Murray: Georgia Used Justin Fields "In A Different Role"

At Georgia, Justin Fields was primarily a runner; at Ohio State, he became a true dual-threat quarterback, Aaron Murray says

Tiki and Tierney
June 29, 2020 - 10:21 am

When Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State, many college football analysts knew he could be good. After all, he was a 5-star recruit and the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country in the class of 2018. 

Few people, however, could have anticipated he would be this good this quickly.

“It was awesome to see him last season,” CBS Sports Network college football analyst Aaron Murray said on Tiki & Tierney. “In his role when he was at Georgia, Jake [Fromm] was the guy, and then Justin Fields would come in and it was more of just a running package: it was 3rd-and-short, it was the red zone, 4th-and-short, and he was kind of the bruising quarterback that you had to put an extra safety or an extra linebacker in the box to stop him because of the threat of running.”

Fields was much more than that at Ohio State. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for 484 yards and 10 scores, leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff berth.

His development as a pocket passer was, in a word, incredible.

“I think it was always there; it’s just Georgia used him in a different role,” Murray said. “They didn’t train him to go back there and take a five-step drop, read the defense and throw. It was, ‘You’re going to run our RPO offense. You’re going to run our zone offense. Go out there and do that.’ And then last year you saw a full offseason to really work on his fundamentals, work on his pocket movement, and I think that’s the biggest thing I saw with him. 

“He went from a freshman that ran the ball a ton, that didn’t get put in a lot of situations, that tried to use his big arm to just hose balls in there left and right, to all of a sudden a great quarterback that moved the pocket well, kept his eyes up, saw downfield and learned how to throw with anticipation and learned how to throw with touch. I think that’s the biggest jump that kids have to learn.”

Fields enters 2020 firmly in the Heisman Trophy mix. Ohio State is slated to open the season at home against Bowling Green on Sept. 5, before traveling to Eugene to face Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 12.